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The story of two strong men from contrasting backgrounds battling for supremacy is as old as civilisation itself. It's a familiar tale and yet it never fails to entertain, which is why stories like The Count Of Monte Cristo, Kane And Abel, Midnight's Children or even Yash Chopra's 1975 film, Trishul have enthralled us. Yash Raj Productions takes on this theme and narrates the tale of two boys born on the same day, in starkly different surroundings, and their enmity. While Aditya Merchant belongs to one of the richest industrial families of India, Kabir Khan is from a poor village in Andhra Pradesh. Their story spans from 1947 to 2007. The show dramatises the contrast between the Merchant family's wealth and the Khans' struggle against poverty. The subtext of the story is drawn from the partition of India in 1947; if we were to use a metaphor, both Merchant and Khan would personify the complex stories of India and Pakistan.
In 2010, Yash Raj Productions debuted on the small screen with their own clique of actors. Even though their shows such as Mahi Way, Rishta.com and Powder did not garner a lot of TRPs, the actors certainly did get noticed. And a year later, the brigade is back. Viraf Pheroz Patel (of Mahi Way fame) plays the suave and sly Merchant and Rahul Bagga (of Powder fame) portrays the aggressive and ambitious Khan with panache. Apart from the nuanced performances of the lead pair, the supporting cast, too, does a good job. Jackie Grewal, who plays Merchant's grandmother, particularly impresses with her portrayal of a 60-year-old hung up on colonial ways, with her mannerisms and British-accented Hindi.
The director, Naresh Malhotra, has done his homework and given importance to detailing. His characters based in Andhra Pradesh have the perfect local accent and the Merchants do an excellent anglicised accent. Important events of the post-Independence era have not been forgotten –– landmark events like partition and the subsequent riots, and nationalisation of banks in 1969 have been touched upon. The costume design is also excellent. Subarna Ray Chaudhuri, who has designed for films such as Eklavya and Parineeta, is careful to indicate the decade with the clothes and hair styles.
There are too many aspects and layers in the story and, at times, this gets confusing. A lot of issues are discussed, such as poverty and religion and they can distract viewers from the central conflict. Also, the story moves at such a pace that if you miss one episode, you will be clueless.
It's a good attempt and the show stands out among all the soaps and reality shows. It's a treat to the eye — very crisp and engaging.
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With promos already on-air, casting in full-swing…
Vikram Kapadia and Nandita Puri to essay prominent roles in Rajan ...
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